Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil

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Coconut OilThere is a lot of confusion out there regarding Coconut Oil.  In the past we were told to stay away from it because it was a high in saturated fats.  It’s now believed that the studies were done using partially hydrogenated coconut oil – i.e. coconut oil that had been chemically altered into trans-fats which are definitely NOT healthy.  Using virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated is a different thing entirely as Michele Chevalley Hedge explains.

10 facts about coconut oil

From beating sugar cravings to aiding weight loss, there are more benefits of coconut oil than most of us may realise.

1. All fats are not created equal

Coconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a “healthy” form saturated fat compared to trans fatTrans fatty acid consumption has been linked with heart problems, depression and increased cholesterol levels. What does consuming a fat with MCFAs mean for your body? Our body can metabolise coconut oil quickly in the liver and immediately covert this into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than it being stored as fat.

 2. Controls weight

One 2009 study looked at the weight loss link between women’s consumption of coconut oil and found that it reduces abdominal obesity. Researchers discovered coconut oil is easy to digest and also protects the body from insulin resistance. To try coconut oil for weight loss start by adding one teaspoon to your diet and gradually work your way up to four teaspoons per day.

3. Eases digestion

If you suffer from poor digestion or tummy bloating try adding coconut oil to your diet. Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and microbial related tummy bugs. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti microbial properties, which have a soothing affect on bacteria, candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion.

4. Manage type 2 diabetes

A recent study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that coconut oil protects against insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. MCFA fats are small enough to be absorbed into the cells where they’re quickly converted to energy. It is this process that not only reduces the amount of fat we pack into storage, but improves insulin sensitivity.

5. Supports immunity

Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats, lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properities to boost the immune system. Lauric acid contains the highest concentration of MCFA fatty acids, approximately 75 per cent. The body turns this fat into monolaurin which is claimed to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.

6. Boost metabolism

A study reported in the Journal of Nutrition found that coconut oil boosts metabolism. Researchers found that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who consumed less. A speedy metabolism helps boost the body’s immune system and keep weight off.

7. Slows fine lines

Coconut is not just for your cooking – it’s a wonderfully hydrating treat for skin too. It keeps the skin’s connective tissues strong, which prevents sagging and wrinkles. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines or use it daily on your face and body for a healthy glow. Be sure you use virgin coconut oil with no additives.

8. Cooks in high temperatures

Because coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid, it gives it a higher smoking temperature than most polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils. If you’re preparing recipes that require high temperatures you should consider coconut oil for this type of cooking. Unlike olive oil which will oxidise at high temperatures, creating free radicals.

9. Stops sugar cravings

Instead of reaching for the lollie jar for an afternoon sweet hit, try eating a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil to beat sugar cravings. This is because good quality fat is more satiating than carbs, so if you cut down on sugar you will feel less ‘ravenous’. Most of us do not realise but constant hunger is a major clue that your body is not being fed correctly.  With the proper amounts of fats and protein, you can fuel your energy reserves properly, and come off the sugar roller coaster that many of us are on.

10. Coconut oil is simple to cook with

Try this recipe for a nutritious high protein, gluten and dairy free coconut treat.

  • 1 teaspoon of Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup of almonds or walnuts
  • 1 cup of organic dates
  • 3-4 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder
  • Shredded coconut (check it contains no preservatives)

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Roll into small bite size balls and roll into shredded coconut. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.

Coconut Date Balls

Michele Chevalley Hedge is an accredited nutritionist, author and presenter. Visit her website to find out more.

References:

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/472650-does-coconut-oil-raise-metabolism/#ixzz1xfh6wUp1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=”Lipids”[Jour]+AND+44[volume]+AND+2009[pdat]+AND+ferreira[author]#

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/coconutoil/a/Benefits-Of-Coconut-Oil.htm

Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. Epub 2009 May 13.

Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.

Assunção ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM.

Source

Faculdade de Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió, AL 57072-970, Brazil.

*Abstract

The effects of dietary supplementation with coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting waist circumferences (WC) >88 cm (abdominal obesity) were investigated. The randomised, double-blind, clinical trial involved 40 women aged 20-40 years. Groups received daily dietary supplements comprising 30 mL of either soy bean oil (group S; n = 20) or coconut oil (group C; n = 20) over a 12-week period, during which all subjects were instructed to follow a balanced hypocaloric diet and to walk for 50 min per day. Data were collected 1 week before (T1) and 1 week after (T2) dietary intervention. Energy intake and amount of carbohydrate ingested by both groups diminished over the trial, whereas the consumption of protein and fibre increased and lipid ingestion remained unchanged. At T1 there were no differences in biochemical or anthropometric characteristics between the groups, whereas at T2 group C presented a higher level of HDL (48.7 +/- 2.4 vs. 45.00 +/- 5.6; P = 0.01) and a lower LDL:HDL ratio (2.41 +/- 0.8 vs. 3.1 +/- 0.8; P = 0.04). Reductions in BMI were observed in both groups at T2 (P < 0.05), but only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005). Group S presented an increase (P < 0.05) in total cholesterol, LDL and LDL:HDL ratio, whilst HDL diminished (P = 0.03). Such alterations were not observed in group C. It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.

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Comments

  1. Coconut oil is something I can’t live without! I eat it, cook with it and use it as a daily moisturizer for my face and body. It has so so so many functions and is such a healthy supplement!

    • Hi Serena, yes it sure is a wonderful superfood! I also use it for ‘oil pulling’ – swishing it around in my mouth for around 10minutes after brushing my teeth – it’s meant to help remove impurities and keep your gums/teeth healthy…if you can do more like 20 minutes that’s the ideal but 20 minutes is a long time to have oil in your mouth! 🙂

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